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Old 03-20-2013, 03:39 PM   #1
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Buying Sight Unseen

Hi,

I'm new to the airstream community. My husband and I have been really excited about the idea of restoring an airstream 22 or smaller made in the 50s or 60s. We have found one from mark the airstream guy? Anyone recognize this? He has a website and has a 22 flying cloud for sale. We are in North Carolina and would have to buy site unseen (aside from pictures). Does anyone have advice on ? or personal experience to share? Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:52 PM   #2
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There is always a risk to buying sight-unseen. Depending on how much money is involved, it might be worth flying to see a trailer you believe may be The One so you don't invest a day or two into driving across country when you haven't even inspected the trailer yet. There's a powerful temptation to "buy it anyway" if you've driven 2 days to fetch it, where you might make a different decision if you already have a return flight and will have to come back with a tow vehicle at a later date. If it's really a good buy, it'll be worth driving back to get it. If it's an iffy thing, it's easier to choose to wait for a better one.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:52 PM   #3
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I did that, it wasn't the smartest thing I ever did nor the dumbest. Find time to go take a look, you won't regret it and may find even more treasures.

Before you buy research single axle vs tandem axle, big difference and some safety concerns you should be aware of.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:55 PM   #4
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Hi and welcome to the forum. I don't have any first hand knowledge of the airstream guy but I do know that there are several members scatered across the country that are willing to inspect airstreams for those who cannot get out to do so on their own do a search for voluteer airstream inspectors you may find one who could look it over for you best of luck.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:05 PM   #5
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I'd be reluctant. If you want the trailer bad enough, consider the travel to inspect it first as part of the purchase price. What happens if you get there and find you need new tires, wheel bearing replacements, brakes and find out the lighting (tail lights, brake lights, turn lights) don't work? All are things that could make tow home a nightmare or a mighty expensive add on. It's one thing to address these at home, quite another when you aren't.

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
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I can go look at it and tale pictures, I'm not well versed in vintage but can give you some idea of the condition.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:22 PM   #7
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I wouldn't buy unseen unless the skins were pristine in the pictures and I wanted/ was willing to do a full monte. And it was a year/ model I had to have.

That doesn't leave much, maybe a whales tale I'd jump on.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:44 PM   #8
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I would not by sight unseen. You do not even know if it can move. To me it is like buying a book by its cover. Just does not make sense at least to me.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:05 PM   #9
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i would say it depends on the price. Airstream guy seems to have reasonably priced trailers. if you think you can 'flip it' back in NC if its not what you need, then Why not. if there is no room to re-coup your investment in time and gas and purchase price if it doesn't work out... then make sure it will work out by taking the advice recommended here; go see it first.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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Any trailer that old is going to be a major job. Even if it's in good shape when you get, thing will break ALL the time.
First, if the outer shell is in good shape, you've got a good start.
Second, can it even be towed home? Wheels, axels, frame and tounge can all be fixed but you've got to get it home first. If the seller cannot garentee that the traler is towable you could be stuck getting it trucked home.
Third, there are lots of trailers out there that folks have started to restore and quite before it was done. There is a good chance that the interior has been stripped out already. You can't go back in time to buy all of the items that used to be in the trailer. You will be renovating the trailer. This isn't a bad thing, it's just not going to be a restored to original trailer.
Fourth, pictures don't smell! I bought a used trailer and found out the owner had left a dead fish in the refridgerator. It actually worked out well for me. The stink chased all of the other potential buyer off. I picked up the trailer for a song. A good cleaning put everything right. You might not be so lucky. Rodent pee really stinks and you have to strip the trailer all the way down to clean it all out. There is also mold, rot and other smells that could be hard to deal with.
Fifth, your looking at a 1950's to 1960's small trailer. Little things like A/C, seperate grey and black water tanks and a working showers were not even offered in some of models. By todays standards, they were fairly primative. On the good side, this made the trailer much lighter and easy to tow. Some of these older trailers cannot even be modified to take an A/C unit. Take care in what you buy if you will want all the modern comforts.
Sixth, the floor is probably rotted. If it's not too bad you will be able to patch and repair. If it's like most 50 year old trailers you will have to do a shell off restoration. Do you have an adiquite work sight to do this?

I'm not trying to discourage you, just letting you know what you're getting into. I've had several trailers and I really do like the vintage trailers even with all the work it takes to keep them on the road. The key is not to pay too much. I picked up one old trailer for $500.00. It turned out not to be worth restoring but I sold all of the parts in it and actually made a few dollars. If you don't think you could break even on a sale of the complete trailer or all of the parts you might need to pass.
Good luck to you.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by skjones View Post
Hi,

I'm new to the airstream community. My husband and I have been really excited about the idea of restoring an airstream 22 or smaller made in the 50s or 60s. We have found one from mark the airstream guy? Anyone recognize this? He has a website and has a 22 flying cloud for sale. We are in North Carolina and would have to buy site unseen (aside from pictures). Does anyone have advice on ? or personal experience to share? Thanks!
Airstream? Great idea!

I "missed out" on the first couple of vintage Airstream trailers. Waiting for the right trailer was the right thing, and I found my trailer - a trailer that is worth restoring!

Advice?
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:48 AM   #12
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Thanks for all your responses, I appreciate the advice. You mentioned quite a few things I didn't even think about. I'm going to start looking at trailers closer to home, and I'll keep you posted.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:09 AM   #13
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Good Morning SK, We live in NW Ohio and found our 1987 Soveriegn online down in north Flordia. I got intouch with the president of the local unit of the W.B.C.C.I. down there. He told me that one of their members lived in town where the trailer was and that she was more than happy to go look over the trailer for us. This was before we had joined the W.B.C.C.I.. I for one would be happy to look over for you if it is reasonably close to home and I believe that other members around the country would alos help you out
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